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How FMA is responding to future trends

The Association has a stake in many contemporary issues, as we represent the interests of our members for the benefit of the industry. The direction and action the Association takes is directly driven by our members and key stakeholders, whose views are captured through Portfolio Group meetings, forums and focused groups.

The Association is now involved in industry and government decision-making, not only in responding to key future trends, but also in setting the industry’s advocacy and education agenda. While the list of activities is too long to list here, it is important to note that influencing future opportunities prior to them arising is key to demonstrating leadership as an industry. One of the real opportunities of membership is to be a part of the machine that develops the positions that influence the future of facilities management (FM).

Resilience is an emerging issue for the built environment. We recognise the importance of being able to develop and adapt strategies that protect the interests of building owners and occupants by ensuring that facilities remain usable. As members develop responses to ensure resilience in their business, the Association is looking at the role it plays in developing a Portfolio Group to provide a forum for leadership in this important and emerging area.

The area of sustainability has long been core business for FM professionals. Through programs working with NABERS, Sustainability Victoria, the Department of the Environment and Energy, and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, the opportunity to influence outcomes that impact the FM industry continues to be a strong focus. This also keeps FM in the conscious thinking of public policy decision-makers.

Supply chain integration is an area that requires focus to ensure the paradigm of continual cost-reduction procurement is able to be curbed. The Association recognises that the majority of procurement decision-makers look at FM as a cost. The challenge is to shift this perception, through research and evidence-based education, to reposition FM as an investment in supporting core business.

Regulatory compliance has become very topical recently. Issues such as the Building Confidence Report, the Opal Tower incident and the Grenfell fire in London have put a spotlight on the importance of meeting all regulatory requirements. The Association has worked with government in responding to cladding inquiries, assisting in the review of various compliance standards (including AS 1851), and is now working with the Australian Building Codes Board on the implications of various recommendations from the Building Confidence Report.

Given the skills shortage and limited formal pathways to enter the profession, skills and training have been at the forefront of the Association’s thinking. The past year has seen the accreditation of the revamped Diploma of FM and the initial development of an Introduction to FM course. The Association continues to work with various government bodies to ensure that skill migration assessment meets the competency needs of the industry. Overall, these measures will build a stronger and more competent profession.

The Association is moving to build stronger connections with the property ownership and corporate real estate sector. The emergence of the workplace is a primary driver for how FM is implemented in commercial properties. The ongoing growth in outsourcing has seen Australia attain one of the highest rates of outsourcing in the Asia-Pacific region. The Association continues to be involved in the development of international standards in FM, ensuring the Australian industry has direct input in ISO standards development. This was particularly important in the development of the ISO relating to FM strategic procurement.